Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#13, #14 Mt. Field (and Willey)

#13, #14 Mts. Field and Willey via Avalon, Willey Range and A-Z trails, May 25, 2009

Mileage: 8.4 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,050

Trailhead: Crawford Depot (next to Highland Center on Route 302) 

Lessons learned:
    -  If your group decides to split up, have a plan B that everyone knows. 
    -  Know what the summit looks like - research where it is so there is no doubt. (See "Year of the Hike 2" entry.)

Today I hiked with Rich, Sue, Pam, Charlotte and Sandy.  Charlotte had blisters on her feet and did not make it to Mt. Willey.  The weather was cool but clear and there was still quite a bit of snow cover close to the summit, which made going slow. 

Avalon trail was shorter than A-Z to Willey Range, but steep and rocky.
We chose the Avalon and Willey trails up because it was shorter but the Avalon trail was very steep and rocky so we did not save any time by hiking this route.  We did not bring traction so footing was slippery and we decided not to take the spur up to the top of Avalon. We all had lunch at the summit of Mt. Field and when we were done, we headed to Mt. Willey.  
Mt. Field's summit. Not very spectacular.

Sue, Pam and Charlotte started later and fell far behind us; they decided to turn back and head for the car. We had not discussed this scenario before the hike and wondered where they went.  We heard them yelling to us but could not understand what they were saying.  I was concerned but assumed given Charlotte's blisters, that they headed back.
 Sandy, Rich and I got to where we thought the summit of Mt. Willey was but it was only marked with a rock with a small arrow. The GPS beeped and we were where we felt the top was.  

View on the Willey Range trail headed toward Mt. Willey
At the summit of Mt. Willey (or were we?)
We took photos and went back to Mt. Field.  We returned via the Willey Range –A-Z trail.  
Not knowing if we actually reached the summit that day bothered me for over a year, until I hiked it again in the fall of 2010, this time via the Willey Range trail from Ethan Pond trail.  I retraced my steps from the 2009 hike to find that we had found the summit; that same area was now marked with a cairn.

#5,#6 Mt. Eisenhower (and Pierce)

#5, 6. Mts. Eisenhower (4780') and Pierce (4310') June 1, 2008 via Edmands Path to Crawford Path.
Mileage:  6.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 2750'

Trailhead: Clinton Road parking area (diagonally across from Highland Center).

Lesson learned: Stop and put bug repellent on!

Hiked with Rich Eileen, Art, Charlotte, Marie, and David. Went the Edmands Path, Loop and Crawford Path trails. Weather was sunny and comfortable with a gray cloud here and there.

Toward the top there were a few patches of snow.  It was cold at the top but clear with beautiful views. 
Snow close to Mt. Eisenhower's summit
Beautiful views.
Skies were threatening and we hiked to Pierce (Clinton), seeing some alpine flowers.  

Hiking poles on Mt. Pierce
Heading down Crawford Path back to the Highland Center we were inundated with black flies.

#36, #37 Middle and South Carters

#36, 37 Middle (4610') and South Carter (4430') July 4,2010.  South Imp trail to Carter Moriah trail to Carter Dome trail to 19 mile brook trail (traverse). 

Mileage: 10.8 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3500'

Trailhead: South Imp trail is located on Route 16 several miles north of Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. Heading north, go past Nineteen Mile Brook Trail and you will see a parking area on your right as you round the corner.  (You can walk from one trailhead to the other).
Lesson learned:  It is particularly rewarding when you schedule to meet friends hiking from another direction and you meet exactly when and where you thought you would!
Hiked with Rich and Eileen on this beautiful but hot day. The trail was very moderate and Carter Moriah ridge was beautiful, particularly between Middle and South Carters. 

Rich's 30th NH 4K - Middle Carter is an unexciting peak

Spectacular view of Mt. Washington from the Carter-Moriah trail ridge.
After we summitted Middle Carter we met Norm and Charlotte at South Carter for lunch.  They were hiking 19 Mile Brook trail up to South Carter. Timing was perfect.
South Carter

#38 Carter Dome

#38 Carter Dome (4832'), July 11, 2010.

Mileage: 10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3250'

Trailhead: Nineteen Mile Brook trail is located on Route 16 several miles north of Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. 
Lesson learned: There's often a direct correlation between steep and beautiful.

Hiked with Marie, Dave, Rich and Eileen on a hot but beautiful day. We took Nineteen Mile Brook trail to Carter Dome trail to Carter-Moriah Ridge trail to the summit.  We continued to Carter Notch hut, returning to the trailhead via Nineteen Mile Brook trail.  This route is sometimes called the "lollipop loop."  Ascent had good footing and consistent grade.  We met a young hiker who turned out to be the son of a woman who would hike the Bonds with me (Louise).

Summit of Carter Dome. Never could find a USGS marker.
The trail from Carter Dome summit to Carter Notch hut was very steep with nice views.

Marie getting ready to head down to Carter Notch hut. Notch (and Wildcat) are in the background.
Hung out at Carter Notch hut for a bit before heading up the trail .  There is a cool lake at the hut and a rock slide pile called the ramparts.  This is a hike I would do again, though next time I will climb Mt. Hight as well.

#26 Mt. Carrigain

26. Mt. Carrigain (4700') via Signal Ridge Trail, July 11, 2009 (with update October 27, 2012).  

Miles:  10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3200' elevation gain. 

Trailhead: 2 miles down Sawyer River Road, which is off Route 302 north of Bartlett, NH. Note: this road is gated in the winter.

Lesson learned:  Some days we just move slower and lack that spring in our steps.

Got a bit of a late start for this hike!
 Hiked with Rich and Sandy on a warm, humid day.
Rain, perhaps heavy, was predicted for the evening but the sky was blue and temps moderate when we started out.   Started up at 10 a.m. and was down at the car by .  The trail was very flat for the first 1.5 miles with quite a few water crossings that were fairly high.  Rich and I toughed it out and Sandy used her sandals on some. 
Trail got steeper and soon we had some views. 

The summit observation deck is waaaay up there!
Got to the false summit and saw the observation deck way beyond where we were. Eileen had warned me about this and told me that the trip to the deck (which is the summit) was not as far as it seemed. She was right, we headed along an exposed ridge with spectacular views, then passed a campground (uninhabited), before we ascended one last time to the deck. Rich did climb the deck and we had lunch.  Found the USGS summit marker, took some pictures and headed back down. 

Rich on the observation deck.
 Saw about 15 people on this hike. The humidity made us all seem sluggish and discouraged for a good part of this hike, not at all like us. Sandy fell once on the way up, and on the way down Rich fell on the trail hard, hurting his hand and tailbone.    Had dinner at The Moat.
Such a beautiful hike and I would like to revisit Carrigain when we all have more energy!

Update: Carrigain hike October 27, 2012. 

Hurricane Irene hit this area hard in August of 2011, destroying much of the road and the beginning of the Signal Ridge trail.  In fact, the Sawyer River Road remained closed for over a year, reopening just several weeks before this hike.  Signal Ridge trail has been rerouted and some of the changes are mentioned below:

Change in miles:  10.4 miles RT

Change in elevation gain: 3629'  This was according to our GPS. I doubt the change in the trail resulted in a 400' gain from our 2009 trip.

Trailhead: The Sawyer River Road is rebuilt and well graded. Heading in toward the trailhead parking is less harrowing than heading out as the northbound "lane" has places where there is no room for the driver to move over - no guardrails or trees and the side of the road ends abruptly with a steep down to the river below.  I met a car coming in when I was going out and there was nowhere I could go to give them room to continue, so they pulled right so I could continue. 

The entrance to the trailhead has changed and parts of the trail have been rerouted high up on the left bank of the river. 

The entrance to the trail is no longer near this kiosk but on the other side of the bridge.
Blown down trees and washed away areas where the trail use to be.
The trail has been rerouted up above the river, with bog bridges to protect the trail.